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Skip hire firm ignored safety warnings

20 Dec 10 Eighteen months after a prosecution for illegal operations, a Guildford skip hire firm was back in court last week on a health and safety charge.

Mark Mason, 38, of Peter Mason Skip Hire, pleaded guilty at Guildford Crown Court.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had visited the company at North Moors, Slyfield Industrial Estate in Guildford on 4 June 2009, where they found skips and general waste stored in a way that put workers at risk from falling objects. An Improvement Notice was issued ordering a reduction in the number of skips and waste materials stored on site. When inspectors returned nearly two months later (27 July 2009) they discovered that Mason had ignored the original order.

HSE then issued a Prohibition Notice ordering operation of the site to cease immediately, including the handling and emptying of skips and also preventing access to a workshop until the materials on the site could be stored appropriately.

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Mason was convicted of breaching section 2(1), of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and breaching sections 21 and 22 of the Act for contravening the Improvement and Prohibition Notices issued upon him. He was sentenced to serve 240 hours of community service.

HSE Inspector Kari Sprostranova, said: "Mark Mason put not only himself in danger, but his employees and other people in the area. He was extremely lucky that no one was injured as a result of the unsafe practices being used. Mr Mason was given ample time to correct the problem, but blatantly disregarded the Improvement Notice. HSE will hold employers to account if they do not comply with these notices."

In June 2009 the company was fined £7,693 after admitting it was operating without a permit and for breaching Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act.

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